Israel blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza, says EC Spokesman

London, Jan 30, IRNA — A senior European Commission official said on Friday his humanitarian organisation cannot help reconstruct Gaza infrastructure because of increasing Israeli pressures and restrictions.

John Clancy, European Commission Spokesman for Humanitarian Aid and Development, told reporters in London that humanitarian aid trucks are not allowed to enter Gaza to help people relieve from three weeks of Israeli assaults on the densely-populated strip.

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Around 1,500 people died and several thousands wounded in 22 days of Israeli strikes on Gaza.

“We have very little access to Gaza. In practice, I should say we have no access to send humanitarian aid into the Gaza,” he said.

Clancy said Israel does not respect international humanitarian laws and “even bars journalists from entering Gaza”.

He added that the European Commission is “frustrated” towards Israel as it disappointingly blocks humanitarian access to Gaza.

“According to international humanitarian laws, Israel is obligated to ensure full access to Gaza for humanitarian organisations. However, it does not respect these laws by banning humanitarian trucks from entering Gaza,” he said.

Clancy said that European Commission officials are in constant contact with Israeli officials to help open Gaza crossings.

“We condemn Israel for not respecting humanitarian laws and its disproportionate response to Hamas missiles,” he said.

The EC spokesman further said the European Commission has allocated a 58-million-Europ package of humanitarian aid to Gaza for 2009.

Asked by IRNA why European contributions have not been delivered to the Hamas government in Gaza, he said the aid will be given to international organisations such as the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“We are a political organisation and cannot give the money to Hamas because it is according to the European Union a terrorist organisation,” he said.

Clancy said the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid has no access to Gaza to provide people with basic necessities of life.

Asked about Israel’s proposal to exchange Gilad Shalit for opening Gaza crossings, he said, “It is totally unacceptable for EC because Israel should ensure that humanitarian aid workers have full access to Gaza.”